At the end of June I will be entering the final year of being in my 40s. Birthdays are always a good time to reflect on life. As I am an active person I tend to label each decade I live by how it affects me. The 40s have been a decade of repair and resignation. At this age I am now evaluating each decade of my life and I have come to some conclusions.
The first 10 years of my life were the decade of innocence. In your first 10 years of life you run and play until you wear out. You are allowed to sleep where you drop. When you can't sleep when you are tired you get to cry, whine and make sure every one is aware of how tired you are.
The next 10 years is the decade of invincibility. Nothing will hurt you. You take risks without any regard for the consequences. Consequences are for old people. If you get hurt it doesn't last long. Bone may break, but they heal quickly. You are willing to try everything; you stay up late and sleep even later.
The 20s is the decade of power. You are old enough to make your own decision. You have to temper your risks slightly. Work, family obligations, and time slow you down a bit. It is still a great decade to take risks, play and push your limits. When I was 20, I swore I would never slow down and give into age like others I knew.
Then came my 30s. I called that the decade of pain. I tried to live life at the same pace I did in my 20s, but my body began to rebel. Oh, I could still play five games of softball in a row. I could not walk the next day without wanting to cry. When I fell off my mountain bike, it hurt for weeks instead of days. I became cautious. I had to start "staying in shape." Unfortunately my "shape "did not cooperate.
Now I am in my 40s. I have had to repair much of the damage I inflicted over the years. Knees, elbows, shoulders and toes. I play it safe more than I used to. The other day on the river, when every one jumped off a small cliff into a pool, I almost didn't do it. When I did leap, I did a "granny jump." Okay, I am a grandma so I can jump like one. I miss the fearlessness with which I once lived life. I try not to let fear of getting hurt dictate what I do, but I do realize my body is trying to tell me that slowing down a bit is for my own good.
I don't know yet what I will label the 50s. I usually don't define a decade until I have been in it a few years. I do not worry about upcoming birthdays. I will worry when I think they won't continue to come. Live life like there is no tomorrow. Hug your kids and your spouse. Treat your friends well. Volunteer to help others. And do one thing each day that scares the heck out of you.